There are a lot of different leaders on the side of the antagonists during the time of the Empire in Star Wars, but we do know that two of them stand out in terms of how feared they are throughout the galaxy. The first is Grand Admiral Thrawn, who was probably at the top regarding his command over the Imperial Armada. Of course, we have Darth Vader, who was the representative of Emperor Palpatine. But in a fight between Thrawn and Vader, who would win?
Vader should be able to easily defeat Grand Admiral Thrawn in a one-on-one fight. While we know that Thrawn is superior to Vader in terms of his military knowledge, skills, and tactics, he doesn’t have the strength, fighting abilities, and Force powers that Darth Vader possesses.
Grand Admiral Thrawn is currently the biggest threat to the New Republic because he has the military authority and the incredible intelligence that allows him to formulate plans and strategies that could overwhelm his opponents. However, in a fight, he couldn’t even do anything against Ezra Bridger in the final episode of Star Wars: Rebels, and that’s why Darth Vader should easily handle him.
Grand Admiral Thrawn is a member of the Chiss race, which can be found in the Unknown Regions of the galaxy, and is one of the few Chiss in the entire Star Wars galaxy. The Chiss are similar to humans except for their skin color and better reflexes and senses. However, they don’t seem to have any real strength advantages over human beings, even if they do have better reflexes and senses. As such, Thrawn is likely just as strong as any other trained soldier in Star Wars.
Darth Vader is not only a well-trained Force user but is also a part machine. He has limbs made of mechanical parts, which means he is far stronger than any regular human being. We know that certain types of droids are far stronger than regular humans in Star Wars, which means that Vader’s mechanical limbs allow him to be droid-like in terms of strength.
Even though Thrawn might have faster reflexes than Darth Vader, all the other physical advantages go to the Dark Lord of the Sith because Vader is basically a living droid.
Thrawn 0, Vader 1
Powers And Abilities
Because he isn’t sensitive to the Force, Grand Admiral Thrawn doesn’t have any special supernatural powers and abilities that Force users have. However, he does have the advantage over some of the other human characters in Star Wars because his senses are better. Thrawn’s eyes allow him to see things found in the infrared spectrum and hear things better than regular humans.
We know that Darth Vader was a trained Jedi when he was Anakin Skywalker and was said to have the highest Midi-chlorian count and potential out of all of the Jedi in existence. Even though he may have become weaker regarding his potential, there’s still no doubt that Vader’s peak was greater than any other Jedi, as his command over the Force was almost unmatched. Except for Force Lightning, Vader can use almost any kind of Force ability and can see and feel things that some Jedi or Sith aren’t capable of sensing.
The fact that Vader already has the Force on his side gives him the advantage here. Thrawn may be formidable, but he has no chance against anyone who can use the Force.
Thrawn 0, Vader 2
Due to his military background when he was still with the Chiss Ascendency, Thrawn was trained in many different combat styles and is skilled in blasters and unarmed combat. We can also presume that he continued to train when he became a part of the Empire, and we could see him displaying a few combat skills while pursuing the Rebels. As such, it can be presumed that Thrawn is just as capable as most other military commanders regarding his fighting capabilities.
Darth Vader was always one of the most skilled lightsaber combatants in the Star Wars storyline, even after losing his mobility and speed after replacing his limbs. He is a master of Form V lightsaber combat and is extremely skilled at fighting other lightsaber users. Vader can overwhelm an entire battlefield alone, as he can easily deflect blaster bolts without even breaking a sweat.
Again, this should be a no-brainer because Darth Vader was trained to be a Jedi and a Sith Lord, and that means that he has fighting skills that far exceed what the other Star Wars characters (including Thrawn) can do.
Thrawn 0, Vader 3
Grand Admiral Thrawn reached his status as one of the top people in the entire Imperial military because he is arguably the most intelligent military commander in Star Wars. No one else could outthink Thrawn regarding strategies and tactics, as he has the uncanny ability to predict his opponent’s moves using logic and intuition. And what made him extremely dangerous during the time of Star Wars: Rebels was that he could see connections that no other military commander could see.
In most cases, Vader relied on his ability to see and sense things using the Force. Still, he was also a tried and tested general during the events of the Clone Wars when he was always on the ground leading the Republic armies against the Separatists. But Vader was always impulsive, and that was his greatest weakness. During the time of the Empire, he would rather leave the military decisions to the actual commanders.
Thrawn was never a perfect military commander, but his weaknesses were minimal compared to Vader’s weaknesses as a commander. As such, Thrawn is far more intelligent than Darth Vader. And that’s saying a lot because he doesn’t even have the Force on his side.
Thrawn 1, Vader 3
Military And Political Authority
Grand Admiral Thrawn is at the top of the military standings in the entire Empire, as no other military commander exceeds his authority. However, his political power isn’t that high, considering that the Grand Admiral doesn’t have the same political powers and authority as the Grand Moff. Nevertheless, in terms of his command and authority over the Imperial armada, he is almost without an equal. And that is probably why he was the one that was given overall command over the remnants of the Empire.
Darth Vader, truth be told, doesn’t have any position in the Empire at all, as he is actually outside the chain of command. However, because he is the emperor’s apprentice, he is Palpatine’s representative whenever Vader is with the officers of the Empire. Nevertheless, he isn’t always the most powerful person in the Imperial military, as there was even a point where Tarkin was able to command him to release one of the officers he held with his Force choke. But if it was the emperor’s will, Vader could take over command from any military and political authority, as we did see him ordering Thrawn in the events of Rebels.
Even though Vader is outside the military and political chain of command, his jurisdiction over the Imperial officers seems restricted to commanding the officers instead of the actual military. Meanwhile, the entire military respects and listens to Thrawn. But because Vader can override any commander’s authority, we can’t say for sure that Thrawn has great authority.
Thrawn 1, Vader 3
Who wins, Grand Admiral Thrawn Or Darth Vader?
This should be an unfair fight for Darth Vader because he is much stronger and more skilled than Thrawn. If we are talking about an actual military skirmish, Thrawn should have the advantage because he is smarter and much more skilled in military tactics. However, Thrawn wouldn’t last a second against Vader if we discussed a one-on-one fight. After all, even Ezra Bridger defeated Thrawn even though he isn’t a fraction of Vader’s power.